Murray names committee for city minimum wage, but supporters of $15-an-hour rate eye initiative
City Hall’s newest faces have already laid the groundwork to set a higher minimum wage in Seattle before taking office in January.
Mayor-elect Ed Murray announced Dec. 19 that he wants a proposal by May to create a city-based minimum wage higher than the state’s $9.19 an hour. He appointed a committee of 28 people, including politicians, business advocates and labor representatives, to create the plan.
“Is this going to be a city of the rich, or is this going to be a city that is diverse?” Murray said at his press conference.
Murray’s proposal does not nail down a specific number; the committee will determine what minimum pay rate the city should establish, and whether it is a gradual or immediate increase. He had proposed during his campaign a gradual increase to the minimum wage that would eventually reach $15 per hour.
Councilmember-elect Kshama Sawant, who made a $15-an-hour minimum wage the platform of her campaign, also joined the committee.
Sawant had held her own press conference two days earlier pledging to propose a $15-an-hour minimum wage ordinance soon after taking office in January. If that failed, she would help push a voter initiative to appear on the November ballot.
Sawant said her commitment to a $15-an-hour rate is unchanged, and she is already pushing the committee to work faster. She wants the committee to complete its work by April, so organizers have time to create a ballot initiative if the work fails.
A city-based minimum wage gained traction this election year as a similar law passed in the city of SeaTac. Voters there narrowly passed a $15-an-hour minimum wage for people working at Sea-Tac Airport, and in hotels, parking lots, rental car companies and restaurants attached to the airport or hotels.
CommentsIf Sonoma County cities can, so can Seattle! Weve an "hourglass economy" too. Low wage "service" & hi wage geek jobs. Petaluma & Sonoma both adopted min. wage laws: http://www.livingwagesonoma.org/
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